These are heady times for bowdlers and censors of all stripes. Not only is there a surge in demand by culture warriors on the far right and woke left to revise histories, lived experiences, and everyday language they deem unsavory or incovenient, but there are great new tools to get the job done. This post looks at the market for ‘bowdler-tech’, a fast-growing specialization within the broader repression-tech industry.1 Follow-on posts look at nifty gadgets for bowdlerizing at scales never seen before.
To ‘bowdlerize’ means to remove or alter parts of a text deemed too immoral, vulgar, irreverent, or politically inconvenient for ordinary folk to see. It takes but a small liberty to extend the term to other kinds of art. The word honors Thomas Bowdler2, an English editor who published a “family-friendly” version of Shakespeare’s works, with all the bits his blue-stockinged sister thought too juicy removed.
The David affair
A conservative …